'I've had better ends to holidays': Devastated Brits return to find their cars destroyed in Luton Airport fire

11 October 2023, 13:18 | Updated: 11 October 2023, 13:58

The fire is believed to have destroyed over 1,000 vehicles.
The fire is believed to have destroyed over 1,000 vehicles. Picture: Social media/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Devastated Brits have returned from holiday to discover their vehicles have gone up in flames after a huge blaze tore through a car park at Luton Airport.

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As many as 1,200 vehicles are believed to have been damaged in the fire, which began on Tuesday evening.

The airport's terminal two car park partially collapsed as flames engulfed the structure throughout the night.

All flights were suspended from the airport until Wednesday afternoon as Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service continued to tackle the blaze.

But the move caused chaos for many returning home, with them being redirected to different airports and not knowing if their cars were among those to have been turned to ash.

Read more: Chaos at Luton Airport: Moment car park collapses in huge blaze as up to 1,200 cars damaged and all flights suspended

Read more: Dramatic footage shows the moment car bursts into flames inside Luton Airport car park, damaging 1,200 cars

Andrew Hopkinson, chief fire officer for the local fire service, said the fire was believed to have started with a diesel vehicle.

"We don't believe it was an electric vehicle," he said. "It's believed to be diesel-powered, at this stage all subject to verification.

"And then that fire has quickly and rapidly spread."

Chris Meacey - whose van was parked on floor 1 of the car park - told LBC: “I’m either taking it home in an ashtray or I’m driving it home.”

Meanwhile, others who had left their vehicles in the car park shared their concerns online.

One person posted on Twitter: "I am sat 1700 miles away with our car parked level 1 in car park 2. Does anyone know which part collapsed? Only had automated email for Luton. And 5 working days for reply from car park provider #LutonAirport"

The burnt out shells of cars, buried amongst debris of a multi-storey car park at Luton Airport
The burnt out shells of cars, buried amongst debris of a multi-storey car park at Luton Airport. Picture: Alamy

Another person said: "Our @easyJet flight was diverted from Luton to Manchester. No staff at airport to help and the only comms we had was via app to tell us to make our own way home….Oh and my cars on fire."

A third person said: "@easyJet currently stranded in Luton after being taxied from Stanstead. All roads are obviously closed, we should never have been sent here. My car is in the car park and I have no way of getting it. No explanation from anyone. #lutonfire"

Tim Barker, who extended his holiday, tweeted: "When you should have gone home last night but you wake up to this...on the other hand your car could be a melting mess in Luton!"

One couple - Liz and Gary Blackmore from Loughborough - came back from a five-day holiday in Portugal to find their new £48,000 Mercedes had been destroyed.

Mr Blackmore said in a Facebook post: "What a night. Flew back from Portugal to be told that we are being diverted from Luton due to a fire in a car park! 

"So we end up at Gatwick and then find out it's in the car park where I parked my car. 

"So less than a year old car up in flames and the whole structure has collapsed."

He added: "Now we are struck at Bedford train station at 3.45 in the morning with no trains for three hours and a taxi wanting £150 for 53 miles!! I have to say that I've had better ends to holidays."

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